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Gradius 2 Stage 4a.png
  • The pre-stage for this planet is a lot like the pre-stage for the Ancient Planet; waves a formation squadrons approaching from the right. Hopefully, you will have attained the Napalm Missile by this point, and if you have, activate it as soon as possible.
  • After the pre-stage ends, but before any land appears, you will be presented with a major feature throughout this stage: indestructible crystalline chunks of rocks that float randomly through space. They travel from right to left, with a majority traveling straight, but a few moving at an angle. The only thing capable of stopping them actually if your Force Field, but of course, this will wear out your Force Field pretty fast, so avoid them at all costs.
Gradius 2 Stage 4b.png
  • Unlike many stages which places most of the terrain at the top and bottom of the screen, this stage presents stretches of land at random heights throughout space. Most of the land is occupied by cannons, many of whom happen to be red, providing you with a good opportunity to power up the Metalion if you died recently. Keep your guard up, however, as the crystalline rocks may reappear at any time.
  • You may notice a few volcanoes around, but they won't trouble you just yet. Your next threat is actually the circular hatches that line the terrain at certain locations. These hatches fire a laser beam straight up or down. They are triggered to fire whenever the Metalion passes directly above or below them. Unfortunately, they are only vulnerable to attack when the hatches are open, so no amount of pelting them with firepower will do any good while they are closed. You must trigger them with the ship, and fly back out of the way to destroy them before the hatches close.
Gradius 2 Stage 4c.png
  • You will find a Vector Beam weapon right out in the open after the first set of hatches. It will help you remove several of the terrain cannons as well as the enemy fighters that fly to your position in the next 15 seconds.
  • Once the Vector Beam wears off, you should be approaching the first volcano that presents a threat. A squadron of enemy fighters will fly out of the mouth of the volcano, choose to veer left or right towards the Metalion, and fly down to the bottom of the screen. All the while, crystalline rocks will be floating toward you. The supply of fighters can be cut off entirely by blasting the mouth of the volcano until it explodes. More volcanoes will follow shortly.
Gradius 2 Stage 4d.png
  • The stage culminates in a stand-off near the end of the stage, where six circular hatches are arranged around the screen, an enemy spewing volcano sits in the lower left corner, and crystalline rocks fill the screen. The scrolling will stop, and you will be forced to survive in this region until enough time has passed. During that time, you can actually safely park the Metalion in the upper left corner above the highest terrain, and you will be virtually safe from every rock that flies by. Of course, if you do not deal with the hatches on the right side of the screen, you must be very cautious once the scrolling resumes and you are forced to travel beneath them.
Gradius 2 Stage 4e.png
  • In one final cruel twist that this stage has in store for you, before you reach the boss, you will encounter an entire fleet of Big Core ships, the end-stage boss from the original Gradius game. Each ship will alternate between a low and a high appearance, travel across the screen from right to left until it reaches the left side of the screen, and then head to the top or bottom of the screen. If you have two Options and Lasers, you can actually make short work of all of them, provided you predict the height of their appearance in time to position yourself and begin firing as soon as they appear. If not, you can simply wait out the entire fleet by staying centered at the very top of bottom of the screen.

Boss: Mayhem Ship[edit]

Gradius 2 Stage 4f.png

The size of this next boss ship may be a little misleading. The two very large arms that extend ahead of the core produce massive lighting attacks that can be aimed at any target in front of them. However, this offensive structure creates its very own weakness: the space directly between the arms and in front of the core is defenseless. Knowing this to be the case, the Mayhem Ship immediately rushes forward after firing off an electrical attack in an attempt to crush anyone trying to exploit that weakness. You can in turn prepare for this very attack by immediately flying back to the left as soon as the lightning attack concludes. In doing so, you will pull your Options right in line behind you and concentrate your fire on the core shields, and ultimately the core itself, for a fairly quick victory.

Nemesis '90 Kai changes[edit]

The remake changes only a few aspects of this already challenging stage. You will continue to be pelted by floating crystals that travel from the left side of the screen to the right at various angles. One significant change that occurs in the remake is that the crystals are not impeded by the terrain. They can freely pass through it on their approach to you, which means you can't use any of land passing by as shields. If you don't have Lasers or a lot of Options, you should dodge most of the Crystals as it will be difficult to destroy them in time. You can still damage the volcano tops to prevent them from spewing enemies onto the screen, but the vulnerable location to shoot at seems narrower then in the original. You can still camp in the upper left corner of the scene where the scrolling stops, but you must be extra careful about rocks that fly through the terrain now.

Nemesis 90 Stage 4a.png Nemesis 90 Stage 4.png Nemesis 90 Stage 4b.png

Nemesis 90 Boss 4.png

A squadron of Big Cores still challenges you before the boss appears, but you only have to defeat eight of them instead of ten. Since the starfield continues to scroll, it's much harder to use the stars as a guide to know where to sit and fire as the Cores make their appearance. To make matters worse, the Cores can fire behind them as they travel up or down the left side of the screen. The boss of this stage is the same Mayhem Ship that you face in the original. The strategy is largely identical between the two versions. There's only one catch that you need to be aware of. When the boss first appears from the bottom of the screen, it gets into position to attack you. Most players fly the Metalion right into the gap between the two giant laser cannons. However, in this version, the boss makes a slight correction, up or down, that is just enough to kill most players if they are parked between the cannons. If possible, wait just outside of this gap until the boss truly comes to rest before flying in to escape the damaging electrical beams, and then flying back to the left when the boss charges you.

When invading the core, you will find that the path branches in two locations. In he first branch, you can shoot out a gate for a shortcut. In the second branch, the narrow path at the top looks like it offers safer passage, but it actually puts you at the mercy of several cannons just beyond the exit from the tunnel.